If you’ve ever heard of ‘stoicism’, it probably makes you think of something like suppressing your feelings in the name of resilience.
And you wouldn’t be wrong!
The traditional Stoic values of enduring pain and hardship without complaints might not be so trendy in our modern world, because it can cause you to neglect much-needed self-care.
But the philosophy from which this concept originated, in ancient Greece, offers more than just that.
There are some valuable insights and timeless teachings from Stoicism that some people can really connect with and find strength in, in times of difficulty.
The principles of wisdom, self-control, and resilience can actually provide a useful framework for navigating uncertainties and obstacles.
In this article, we’ll explore 10 key Stoic teachings that can offer solace and guidance if you’re feeling lost in life:
1) Align yourself with nature
As natural beings, we have become increasingly removed from nature as we’ve learned to build more comfort around ourselves.
Well, it was almost as if the Stoics saw this happening.
They emphasized that living in harmony with nature will give you a sense of purpose and calm.
Even more than that, they believed that by observing and being with nature, you would align yourself with your own true nature.
This involves recognizing your place in the grand scheme of things and acting in accordance with your true self.
2) Focus on what you can control
The Stoics stressed the importance of distinguishing what is within your control and what isn’t.
Why is this important?
Because often, people feel lost when they obsess over things beyond their influence, leading to anxiety and frustration.
Instead, you should focus on what you can control: your thoughts, actions, and decisions.
They may seem minor, but with consistency, they have a major ripple effect throughout your life.
By directing your energy toward these things you can control, you will regain a sense of purpose and empowerment.
3) Accept what you can’t control
We’ve talked about focusing on what you can control.
But what you can’t control? According to the Stoics, its best to simply accept those things.
By resisting a situation or a change, we create suffering, pain, and the feeling of being ‘lost’.
But by accepting the circumstances we cannot change, and embracing life as it is rather than yearning for a different reality, you can find peace and clarity in the midst of confusion.
Of course, this is easier said than done – especially in very tough situations.
But by simply working towards relaxing your tension and resistance around a certain outcome, you can eventually find yourself in a place of peace and acceptance.
That’s what they say!
4) Adversity is an opportunity to cultivate resilience
When challenges and obstacles came in life, the Stoics rejoiced.
They saw challenges as opportunities to build resilience, which they highly valued.
By facing difficulties with courage, they believe that you can emerge from hardships stronger and more self-assured.
You’ll become more prepared and able to handle any future adversity, which will surely come.
So if you’re going through hard times, try to view it through the lens of a Stoic and remember the benefits to your character development on the other side of this hurdle.
5) Practice self-reflection
Self-reflection is really important in Stoicism.
It’s the pivotal point that allows one to strive towards all of the Stoic virtues, which are wisdom, courage, justice, and moderation.
And especially during trialing times, self-reflection is your friend.
Regularly examine your thoughts, actions, and values to better understand yourself in order to grow and evolve.
This introspective practice can help you align your life with your true values and aspirations, which also reduces the feeling of being lost in the process.
6) Practice gratitude
The tendency to focus on what you lack, rather than appreciating what you have, is a common cause of feeling lost.
So try to shift your perspective by making an effort to see the blessings in your life, rather than what isn’t there.
Practiced consistently, gratitude will surely help to alleviate any suffering you’re going through.
7) Pursue wisdom, courage, justice, and moderation
The Stoics believed that you can live a balanced and fulfilled life in pursuit of the four types of virtues.
Wisdom, courage, justice, and moderation are the virtues central to their philosophy, with sub-categories for each of these four main virtues.
With the help of inner strength, one can learn to be wise, just, courageous, and not live in pursuit of excess.
By finding value and meaning, you naturally live a life of moderation – towards what matters.
By striving to embody these virtues, you can lead a purposeful life, regardless of your unique circumstances.
8) Strive for equanimity
Equanimity is best described as the ability to maintain an emotional balance.
And equanimity is something that Stoics regarded highly …Most especially in turbulent times!
By maintaining emotional composure without being swayed by the highs and lows of life, it is believed that you can maintain a steady course.
So with the cultivation of equanimity, when life is raining hard on you with its proverbial lemons you can stay calm, and carry on.
9) Seek knowledge
Knowledge and wisdom are highly valued in Stoicism.
They also happen to be two outcomes of experience in overcoming challenges.
Knowledge and wisdom are like the diamonds that are forged through life’s pressures. You can find direction and purpose in your life by continuously seeking to learn and grow.
As you expand your understanding of the world and your place in it, the feeling of being lost can be replaced by a sense of curiosity.
10) Remember the impermanence of life
Life, and everything in it, is impermanent.
This is one of the teachings from Stoicism that could either cause pain, or it can offer relief if you fully embrace it.
By accepting that life is fleeting and unpredictable, you can learn to truly appreciate each and every moment.
In doing so, you’ll find meaning in the journey itself with all of its ups and downs, rather than focusing on an idealized destination.
So while Stoicism may seem like an outdated philosophy at first glance, it holds many timeless teachings that hold valuable wisdom and guidance for those who find themselves feeling lost in life.
Through the Stoic teachings, you can be reminded of the strength you have within to get through life’s challenges while gaining more wisdom on the other side.